LEE BULLEN hailed the character of his Ayr United squad as they dug deep to hold on to their Championship lead at the weekend.

Goals from Dipo Akinyemi and Mark McKenzie secured a 2-1 win over Morton at Cappielow that preserved the Honest Men’s one-point advantage at the top of the table.

The win also sets up the prospect of a thrilling clash with Ayr’s nearest challengers, Partick Thistle, at Somerset this Saturday.

Speaking to the club’s own TV channel after Saturday’s win, Bullen described the result as “without doubt our toughest, and probably most important, three points of the season up till now”.

The 51-year-old said: “We knew it was going to be a really tough character test for all the players.

“For the full 90, there was concentration levels of the highest order.

“Both teams went at it toe-for-toe, they really did, but I’m just delighted to come out the other end with the three points and delighted to have both my strikers score.

“Were there mistakes? Absolutely, by both teams. It was that type of game.

“But they were asked completely different questions today, and again they’ve come up with the right answers.

“When we do eventually lose a game it won’t be for the lack of effort.

“And I think genuinely that Ayr United supporters will take a team every day of the week that will run their tail off for that badge on their chest.”

Ian McCall’s Thistle stayed hard on Ayr’s heels on Saturday thanks to a 2-0 win over Arbroath at Gayfield – setting up a clash this weekend that the Ayr boss admitted was a “mouth-watering” prospect.

“[McCall] will have them wound up for it,” Bullen added. “We’ll be ready for it – it’ll be a good battle and hopefully a great game for the supporters.

“It’s tough times for a lot of people with regards to the cost of living and finances, but if you are able to find an extra couple of pence down the back of the sofa, please spend it on a ticket – come along to Somerset next week and enjoy the ride against a very, very strong Partick Thistle team.”